By Brett Weisband
Edited by Sarah Robbins
South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia was dismissed from the football team Tuesday after five up-and-down seasons and a week after he was replaced as starter.
"We all feel like we've given Stephen numerous opportunities to be a student-athlete here at South Carolina," coach Steve Spurrier said in a statement. "Obviously, he has chosen not to follow the guidelines of his reinstatement contract."
The (Columbia) State newspaper reported that Garcia failed a substance test for alcohol a week earlier. Steven Fink, chief athletics spokesman, said Garcia violated the terms of his reinstatement. Fink said the details of the agreement and the violation were private, and he would not discuss them.
Garcia was suspended from the team indefinitely in April during spring practice, the fifth suspension of his career. He was reinstated before official team practices began in August.
After starting 28 straight games for the Gamecocks, Garcia did not start this year's season opener against East Carolina. But after the offense stalled under sophomore Connor Shaw, Garcia entered the game in the second quarter and led the Gamecocks to a win.
He started the next four games before being benched Saturday in favor of Shaw for South Carolina's game against Kentucky. Shaw threw for 311 yards and four touchdowns in a 54-3 win.
Garcia ends his career as the third-leading passer in South Carolina history, including 844 yards and four touchdowns this season. However, his nine interceptions in five games this season tie him for second most interceptions in the nation.
He finishes his career third in school history in touchdown passes, passing yards and pass completions.
"Being a student-athlete at the University of South Carolina is a privilege, not a right, and we remind all of our student-athletes that there are consequences for their actions," Athletics Director Eric Hyman said in a statement.
Garcia could not be reached for comment. A number in the University public directory was incorrect and no other numbers in Columbia or the Tampa, Fla. area, Garcia's hometown, were available.
Earlier Tuesday, Spurrier refused to conduct his weekly news conference while Ron Morris, a columnist for The State, was in the room. Spurrier said Morris wrote untrue stories that damaged the team, and he cited an article that said he recruited running back Bruce Ellington away from the school's basketball team. Spurrier did individual interviews with other reporters.
"Coach Spurrier has every right to express his opinion about a newspaper column published last March. We know of no inaccuracies, and we invite readers to review the March 27 article for themselves," said Henry B. Haitz III, president and publisher of The State.
A call to Morris' office phone went to his voice mailbox, which was full.